Wipers Disinfectants and
tive feedback. We continue to make important enhancements to
our platform that we view as critical to maintaining our leadership position,” CEO Erik Gershwind told financial analysts.
Both Grainger and MSC are known for their giant catalogs
that many distributors and their customers use to search for
products. Some analysts are already questioning as to whether
catalogs will even be produced in the future. In fact, one report
claims that 70 percent of the B2B market will stop publishing
catalogs within five years.
Will catalogs become dinosaurs?
Taking Retail’s Cue
And in an article on the Industrial Distribution website recently,
ID Associate Editor Abbigail Kriebs detailed how Crescent Electric
Supply Company, one of the largest electrical distributors in the
country, launched a completely re-designed website.
Mike Mayer, director of ecommerce and business strategy for
Crescent Electric, said that the company realized “it must get
something out there” that was like a retail site, similar to the
sites people are shopping on every day.
Mayer pointed out that before the new site was rolled out,
Crescent Electric surveyed 100 of its customers to find out what
their satisfaction level was with the current system and went
through a list of probable features that Crescent Electric could
build onto the site. That resulted in a prioritized list of features
that has been the foundation of the company’s roadmap.
“The goal is to make it easier for our customers to do business
with us by putting the power in their hands. Many of our customers are out in the field and we want them to be able to pull
out their iPad, submit an order for Will-Call, and head over to
the branch on their lunch break to pick it up,” said Mayer.
I relay these examples because customers are increasingly
demanding that distributors either improve or build new ecommerce sites. One study shows that 64 percent of industrial buyers
age 18 to 34 buy products from websites, many from their cellphones.
Those are some numbers to consider.
Jack Keough is contributing editor of Industrial Distribution. You
can reach Jack at email@example.com.